UK falls down OECD economic table

Union Jack piggy bankHousehold incomes in the UK fell behind those of Australia and France during the financial downturn as the country tumbled down the rankings comparing major economies.

The UK fell from fifth to 12th place between 2005 and 2011 in a table of 30 states belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Its decline was partly attributed to the drop in the value of the pound, meaning that while income has grown, this spending power did not stretch as far when compared with other countries.

Data published by the ONS also showed that the UK had shot up the table of the most indebted countries in Europe between 2000 and 2011, as it doubled the amount it owed in relation to gross domestic product (GDP). It also showed that since 2009, inflation has remained high compared with the US, France and Germany.

The table of disposable income per head showed the UK had fallen substantially in the rankings while other countries maintained a relatively stable position. The US, Luxembourg, Norway and Germany remained unmoved at the top of the chart while Switzerland took the UK's place as it also fell behind Austria, Canada, Belgium and Sweden.

The rankings use a measure designed to reflect money that individuals have in their pockets after deductions such as income tax or pension contributions. They are adjusted to take into account whether services such as education and health are provided for free as in the UK.

The ONS said that until 2010, the UK had seen a "prolonged period of growth" in this measure of income, despite the recession of 2008-2009, with low mortgage rates and a relatively strong labour market holding off the effects for a couple of years before households "began to feel the squeeze". It said the slip in the international table from fifth to 12th "highlights the relative experience of UK households since the recession". The measure is adjusted to reflect the purchasing power of each country.

The ONS said: "Between 2005 and 2011 the prices of goods and services in the UK has increased relative to other countries. As a result, although household income in the UK has grown, when compared to other countries that income doesn't stretch as far. This goes some way to explaining why the UK ranks relatively lower than it did in 2005."

Meanwhile, the UK fell 12 places down from ninth best performer in a table measuring unemployment, though its jobless rate of 8% in 2011 was well below crisis-hit Greece (17.7%) and Spain (21.6%). But the ONS said the UK labour market had remained relatively resilient and that many of the countries that overtook it were smaller economies less exposed to the 2008 downturn.

Figures also showed gross public sector debt as a percentage of GDP rose from 41.1% in 2000, well below that of the euro area's 69.2%, to 85% in 2011 - compared with 88.1% in the eurozone. It meant that the UK moved up from 15th most indebted OECD country in 2000 to seventh in 2011, in a table of 22 European nations.

The famous faces of bankruptcy
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UK falls down OECD economic table

In 1895 at the height of his success following the publication of The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde was charged with gross indecency and became embroiled in a libel trial to defend himself against accusations of homosexuality. He lost the battle and was forced into bankruptcy to cover legal costs for himself and the accuser, the Marquis of Queensberry – whose son Wilde was allegedly having an affair with. According to, some of Oscar's most prized possessions, including first editions of his own books, were seized and sold at auction to pay the bill.

In a lesson that personal net worth means nothing against spiraling debts, the King of Pop filed for filed for bankruptcy in 2007 when he couldn't repay a $25 million loan on his home, Neverland Ranch.

Despite being recognised as the most successful entertainer of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records, Neverland became Jackson's downfall – reportedly costing more than $10 million dollars a year to maintain. According to, even after signing a nearly $1 billion recording contract in 1991 and selling more than 750 million records, Jackson had just 0.05% of his net worth in accessible cash, which left bankruptcy the only option.

Actress Kim Basinger filed for bankruptcy in 1993 after she was sued for breach of contract for refusing to appear in film Boxing Helena, which later bombed. The actress lost a $8.1 million lawsuit to Main Line Pictures as a result and was forced to sell her $20 million investment in the town of Braselton, Georgia, USA.

When Mozart died at the early age of only 35 in 1791, he was poverty stricken and left vast amount of debt behind, which totaled over 4,000 florins (the equivalent of more than eight times the annual salary of a middle-class government employee, according to Reports prevail that there was such little money in the house at the time of his death that Mozart was buried in a mass grave, the exact location of which is unknown to this day.

Everyone's favourite crooner filed for bankruptcy in 1976 after the royalties from his next album were promised to his ex-wife as a substitute for maintenance payments. The album was titled "Here, My Dear."

Despite creating one of the best-selling albums of all-time with Bat out of hell, Meat Loaf had to file for bankruptcy in 1983, after a series of bad business deals and legal issues. The rock star fell victim to unscrupulous managers, who he discovered were stealing his money – only for them then to sue him for breach of contract. Just when it looked like his luck was improving ahead of the release of his album Blind Before I Stop – the producer put a dance beat on every track, alienating his rock fanbase, making the album a failure and forcing him into bankruptcy for a second time.

Just when things couldn't get any worse for ex-Atomic Kitten Kerry Katona, she's been made bankrupt twice in five years.

The first was in 2008 after failing to deliver the final £82,000 of a £417,000 tax bill.

She was in the press for money issues again this earlier this year when a a TV advert for pay day loans fronted by Katona was banned for being irresponsible. Cash Lady offers loans of up to £300 a month with an annual percentage rate of 2,760%. "We've all had money troubles at some point, I know I have," says Katona in the TV ad. "You could see your bank and fill in loads of forms, but is there an easier way to get a loan ... it's dead fast too. Fast cash for fast lives."

However, Katona was dropped as the face of a payday lending company after filing for bankruptcy for a second time.

She filed for bankruptcy at Wigan County Court in July 2013, the Insolvency Service confirmed.

Disney's fist animation company Laugh-O-Gram Studio filed for bankruptcy in 1922 when its financial baker went broke. Disney was no longer able to pay his employees or his debts, and according to, even struggled to buy a bus ticket to Hollywood. But he made it and there he made a fresh start with his new self-named production company that remains a worldwide success today.

Despite earning millions during his boxing career, former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2003. He mounted about $27 million in bills, and is said to have squandered nearly $300m in ring earnings through lavish spending and bad advice, according to BBC News. The 37-year-old spent extravagantly on mansions, Bentley cars, jewellery, and even pet Bengal tigers while buying expensive gifts for his large entourage. Also in 2003, Tyson agreed to pay his ex-wife $6.5m from future earnings as part of a divorce settlement.

Drinking, gambling, fast cars and womanizing saw football wonder boy Best squander his cash and succumb to bankruptcy in 1982 with debts of £22,000. According to, at the time of his death in 2006, Best had an outstanding mortgage of £100,000 and owed London's Cromwell hospital £300,000 in treatment fees.


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